A loss is one thing, and a blowout is another, but getting romped by arguably the worst team in the National League is just plain ugly. The game today was an unpleasant reminder of 2007. I remember so many times last season turning on the game to find the Cardinals down big in the early innings.
At first, the outcome was somewhat of a surprise to me. Last year, the lopsided losses usually came from the arms of Kip Wells, Mike Maroth, or Anthony Reyes. Maybe my memory was clouded by the 3-0 start to ’08 by Braden Looper, but I expected another quality start from him today, complete with a Cardinal win. Instead, he was chased from the game before retiring a batter in the fourth. Including his runner that scored in that inning, Looper allowed 7 runs on 10 hits, facing only 19 batters on 71 pitches. His ERA rose from a 2.70 to 5.49.
Now that the clouds have cleared, I can recall a more accurate account of Looper’s ’07 season. At the surface, the numbers look pretty average. Find them here. He was 12-12 with a 4.94 ERA in 31 games for the year. Looking more closely, his final ’07 stats most resemble his 6 no decision starts, where he had a 4.29 ERA in 35.2 innings. In the 12 wins, Looper pitched 78.2 innings, compiling a very impressive 1.49 ERA. In his 12 losses, he pitched 60.2 innings, posting an ERA of 9.79. So, on a game to game basis, seldom was Looper average. He was either quite good, or he was horrible. Today, he was horrible.
The 8-2 defeat gives the Cardinals their first series loss of the season, as well as their first back-to-back losses. It closes the book with the Giants for the year, who won four of the seven games against the Redbirds. The loss also drops the Cardinals out of first place, behind the Cubs by a half-game.For more on today’s game, check out Robert Falkoff’s recap, as well as the full box score.
Now for the good news. A loss is a loss, no matter if it’s by a run or ten runs, and the next one surely will be easier to swallow. The Cards are still 12-7, which is a much better start than most of us predicted.
Next, they’ll hit the road for a short, two city road trip, beginning in Milwaukee tomorrow night. St. Louis took two of three from the Brewers last week at Busch, coming within four outs of a sweep on Thursday. Adam Wainwright gets the start for the Cardinals. He’ll be opposed by Carlos Villanueva. Hopefully, it will be the start of a new winning streak.